COVID-19 Weekly Newsletter: CDC Releases Guidance for Vaccinated Population
New guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and vaccine news from the White House highlight another week in the COVID-19 vaccine rollout.
New CDC Findings and Recommendations
According to guidance released by the CDC last week, those who have been fully vaccinated for at least two weeks do not need to quarantine if exposed to a COVID-19 positive individual. A CDC study also found that double-masking can reduce exposure by 95%. To get the best results, the agency says to layer masks by wearing a cloth mask over a surgical mask — but not two surgical masks on top of one another. Tying the ends of the surgical masks to tighten the fitting was also noted to boost efficacy.
Counterfeit N95 Masks Made It to Frontline Workers
The N95 mask can filter 95% of airborne particles that can carry the COVID-19 virus. It is the mask most commonly provided to frontline workers due to its robust filtration. However, many states have raised alarms that they have received fake versions of it. More than 10 million counterfeit N95 masks have been seized by U.S. authorities. In Washington state alone, the state hospital association reports that 1.9 million fake N95 masks have been supplied to 40 hospitals. Early in the pandemic, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved KN95 masks to respond to a shortage of N95 masks, claiming they provide similar protection. However, months of research have called this into question, as some KN95 masks have been found to only filter 30% of the tiny particles (though there are KN95 masks that provide protection similar to N95 masks). The FDA maintains a list of KN95 masks on their website that are suitable substitutions when N95 masks are not available.
Federal Government Looks to Buy More Vaccines
This week, the federal government finalized deals to buy 200 million more COVID-19 vaccine doses from Moderna and Pfizer Moderna by the end of July. President Biden announced these details at the National Institutes of Health on Thursday. The purchase would increase America’s available supply of vaccines by 50%, helping avoid a shortfall.
White House Launches Community Health Center Vaccine Program
Despite efforts to ensure equity and access to vaccines and instill vaccine confidence, only 5% of doses have gone to Black Americans. To address this, the Biden administration announced this week the development of a COVID-19 Health Equity Task Force and a new program, to start next week, to administer vaccines through federally qualified health centers.
Tracking executive orders, legislation, and other government actions related to COVID-19 by state and major locality across the U.S.
Tracking federal and state law enforcement and regulatory actions taken against bad actors who have exploited the COVID-19 emergency to defraud consumers and payers.